Travel: Sacred Superstition, Or Mysteries After Dark

March 7, 2024


Some sacred sites around the globe are believed to turn into paranormal hotspots as the sun sets. From the echoing chants of lost souls to spine-chilling apparition sightings, many travellers find these eerie transformations particularly interesting. “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” This famous quote from The Polar Express could just as easily refer to the world of the supernatural as it does to the magic of Christmas. Paranormal activities, inexplicable phenomena, and ghostly encounters may all sound like the stuff of horror movies. But for centuries, humans have been intrigued by what they can’t understand or rationalise. This fascination transcends into a strange intertwining of the superstitious and the spiritual, a mystifying blend that captures the imagination and tests the beliefs ordinarily held by many.


Borley Rectory, England

This former Victorian mansion in Essex, dubbed the ‘most haunted house in England’, is shrouded in chilling lore of ghostly apparitions and inexplicable happenings. While the building itself was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1939, the ground it stood upon remains a site of reverence and interest, especially for thrill-seekers and paranormal enthusiasts.


Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

An unusual Roman Catholic chapel, the Sedlec Ossuary draws not only those on spiritual quests but also those fascinated by the macabre, thanks to the creative arrangement of 40,000 to 70,000 human skeletons that form its decor.


Lourdes, France

Home to multiple sightings and miraculous healing experiences, Lourdes (pictured) – one of Catholicism’s holy pilgrimage sites – has a well-documented history of strange phenomena. Its grotto has been known, after nightfall, to harbour mystical occurrences that can’t be simply explained with science.


Bhangarh Fort, India

In the daylight, this centuries-old fortress in Rajasthan is a historic marvel. As dusk settles, however, Bhangarh Fort transforms into a site of unnerving eeriness. The Indian Government has even prohibited visitors after sunset due to the alarming number of unsettling encounters reported.


Aokigahara Forest, Japan

Also known as the ‘Suicide Forest’, Aokigahara Forest is a place of calm and beauty during the day. Still, once the sun sets, it becomes a hotspot of ghostly activity, attributed largely to its tragic history of suicide cases.


“Travelling to such locations can be an exciting experience, yet it requires caution, respect, and sensitivity,” notes Julianna Marshall, an International Drivers Association Travel Expert. “These places have cultural and often spiritual significance, so following all rules and regulations and behaving appropriately is important. Carry identification, notify someone about your whereabouts, and keep emergency contact numbers ready as a precaution.”